Largest Seawater Desalination Plant to Open Next Year

The proposed site of the
The proposed site of the Carlsbad Desalination Project in San Diego county.

The San Diego area will soon be the home of the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. But with a steep $1 billion price tag, the question is whether the Carlsbad Desalination Project will be worth it from a financial and environmental perspective.

Drought-plagued farmers probably think so, because after three years of drought they can’t irrigate: California’s reservoirs are filled with more mud than water. When operational in 2016, the plant will provide up to 50 million gallons of water daily to San Diego county’s 3 million residents. Still, that’s only 7 percent of the region’s water needs.

But a recent article in Fortune notes that desalination is “far more expensive than damming rivers and pumping ground water. Furthermore, critics worry about the environmental consequences and argue that water conservation is a much cheaper option.”

Water conservation is a good option, assuming that there is water available to conserve.

Regarding desalination, “We end up spending a lot of money and getting very little water,” says Conner Everts, executive director of the Southern California Watershed Alliance, who was quoted in the Fortune article. He opposes desalination plants because of their cost and their potential impact on the environment. “Don’t think of the ocean as an endless reservoir, but a fragile ecosystem,” he continued. Everts says the briny waste that goes back into the ocean could kill marine life.

It has taken 12 years of planning, including more than six years in the state’s permitting process, to get the final approvals from state regulatory agencies. Construction was also delayed by more than a dozen lawsuits that raised environmental concerns.

A 30-year Water Purchase Agreement is in place between the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) and Poseidon Water for the entire output of the plant. Poseidon specializes in developing and financing water infrastructure projects, primarily seawater desalination and water treatment plants.

The desalination plant site is a 6-acre parcel in an area that leaves the majority of the Encina Power Station (EPS) property open for potential recreational or redevelopment activity at some future date.

The desalination facility is connected to the discharge channel of the EPS at two locations. The intake pump station is connected to the upstream portion of the discharge channel and delivers 100 million gallons per day of seawater to the desalination facility. Half the seawater processed by the desalination facility will be converted to high-quality drinking water. This water is delivered to Carlsbad and the surrounding communities.

The remaining water, 50 million gallons per day of seawater with an elevated salt content, is returned to the discharge channel where it is diluted with additional seawater prior to being discharged to the ocean. “This ensures that the increased salinity will not impact the marine organisms in the vicinity of the discharge channel,” according to the plant’s project overview.

To desalinate or not to desalinate? This is another of those “it’s complicated” climate change infrastructure issues that will become even more so as water battles come to the fore in areas where there is too little of it — and other areas where rising sea levels will provide too much of it.

Image credit: Arial view of the desalination site from the Carlsberg Desalination Project website

writer, editor, reader and general good (ok mostly good, well sometimes good) guy trying to get by

244 responses

        1. @rebut So you’re saved – the last three years don’t mean anything compared to last week’s rain, right?

        2. i guess you cant integrate opinions very well. i stand by all my posts. you figure it out…if youre IQ is over 90 you might succeed.

        3. Hey genius, if it rains so much then why did you need the plant in the first place – idiot! For California to keep producing crops water is necessary and for the last 3 or 4 years there has not been enough rain. California needs a lot more of these plants. Houston had to stop pumping ground water because the area was sinking. Ground water is not unlimited!

        4. San Diego is a desert numb CK nuts. If you are going to comment, first know a little of which you speak. Im not gonna explain the weather here. I’ll just say its by far THE BEST in the continental US. Hope your lame ass never comes here.

        5. You really have nothing to say if you have to make your weak attempt to strengthen your statements with name calling, lol. I know, your reply will have “numb nuts” somewhere in it.

        6. sorry for the NN comment. But where did you ever get the idea that it doesnt rain after December?

        7. I was at Gillespie Field for several weeks of flight training about six years ago, didn’t want to go home. SD is an amazing place.

        8. Even using these plants the land will eventually no longer produce..There is always a little salt left in the water.

        9. That is totally untrue. You can RO water down to more or less zero PPM. What are NOT removed are small molecule organic toxins.

        10. De-sal water to grow irrigated crops??? Do you have Any idea how much the produce would have to cost??? Then Gov Arnold wanted to spend over $4 billion ADDING more fresh water storage. The “experts” in Sacramento told us it was a waste, NOT needed!!! Now Brown wants to do the same thing, and he is hailed as being a genius??

        11. over the past year, I have said the very same thing. The project 18 that he proposed was all inclusive, and well worth reading on each project,cost and what it would contribute… but as you noted,, it died in it’s tracks cause the “people” didn’t really see the need. NOW… they aren’t even getting 1/5th of the original plan and the cost- OUCH!!!!!! In CA, the Shi$%#$#,,, has to go thru the fan before the people see a need

        12. Back in the drought of late 70’s early 80″ Brown was wanting to spend the same billions on the similar plans which was supposed to make California Drought Proof, well you see all the billions he gave to his buddies did nothing,,,so why did the voters stupidly vote him back into office…geez…He is one reason why I escaped from California 8 years ago and have not thought about going back even once…I do miss the entertainment but nothing else…

        13. Most of the water will go for urban uses. The farming around there is mostly botique/gentleman farming very very little large commercial farming. This is mostly to benefit the real estate development community to make it easier for them to build more houses, shopping centers and industrial/commerce parks.

        14. That viable future will need to include conservation on a grand scale, with different systems for doing things like waste treatment and crop farming. And population control or reduction. The problem in the past has not been too little water, but too many people. Now it’s both, compounded.

        15. ANd the vast majority of that rainwater flowed into storm drains and flowed out into the ocean……NUMB NUTS!!

          is that what you call a rebuttal?? and a biotch slapping added in for fun!!

        16. you cant drink storm drain runoff from the streets and toilets. or perhaps thats what you drink in Tennessee.

        17. Oops, your ignorance is astounding….. Not that I would like to drink toilet water, but the technology is alive and well that makes it more pure than what you are drinking now. You should pay more attention to what goes on around you, lol.

        18. Come on dude. Theres not a city in the world that collects it storm drain and sewer runoff and processes it for tap water.

        19. Los Angeles has been recharging ground water with runoff for many many decades. Hansen dam collects runoff from the San Gabriels. That is allowed to flow into settling basins in San Fernando & N. Hollywood ( Arleta) That being said anything much going into the LA river goes out to the ocean.

        20. Yes there are… is called the internet…use it.

          You can lead a horse to water, but I refuse to suck their azz to get them to drink….Drink from the well of knowledge!!

          Jack: 3….rebut: 0

        21. I did not provide a link… bad…I thought you were smart enough to find that on your lonesome….your guardian(s) taking a break?? Maybe after you’ve had a nappy and are less cranky we can find what most others can find on their own.

          Other posts have named a few cities that do recycle their wastewater…here in the US San Diego and LA/Orange county, and outside the US Austrailia, Israel and numerous sand countries to begin with…….now off ya go to your nap!

          Tampa Bay and San Diego have 2 of the larger de-sal plants in the US.

        22. OC pumps treated sewage water in the the ground dick head. Like I said 4 times already, NO CITY is piping treated sewage into their homes. Orange County residents get their water from a massive underground aquifer, which, since 2008, has been steadily recharged with billions of gallons of purified wastewater.

        23. You just answered your own question. AS you said…OC pumps treated wastewater into the ground (deep water injection)…..THEN that same water is RECYCLED and used again…ie people drink it, water the lawn, etc……by jove,,I think you may have it this time.

          That UG aquifer is also used to keep salt water from intruding into/under LA…also called saltwater intusion…..

          I gotta say you are a tad slow on the uptake…but when you glom onto a concept…well you kinda 1/2 wittedly have it!!

          Did you look at that link with the water cycle?? did you like those pretty pictures??

        24. I may be a dick head as you say….and I can tell you with 100% certainty that YES I HAVE A DICK HEAD so therefore I am a dick head…..but you sir are a dick wad! and an iditiot:

          person of profound mental retardation having a mental age below three years and
          generally being unable to learn connected speech or guard against common
          dangers. The term belongs to a classification system no longer in use.

          idiot, dolt, or dullard is an intellectually disabled person, or someone who
          acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way. Archaically
          the word mome has also been used. The similar terms moron, imbecile, and cretin have all gained specialized meanings in modern times. An idiot is said to be idiotic, and to suffer from idiocy.

        25. Where do you think all that water comes from???…there is the same amount of water on the planet as there was 5 BILLION years ago…do you actually think that the glass of water you are about to drink is pristine and has never been used/drank before??? More than likely that glass of water has been “used” multiple times…..come on you clearly have not thought this thru!!

          Thank goodness there are adults around you to protect you from the savage world.

        26. One method is tertiary treatment. Where, in the US, most waste water is treated to 2ndary standards, some cities where water is in short supply treat the wastewater to drinking water standards (tertiary) Other methods as in deep well injection after meeting 2ndary standards.

          SO your next trip to Los Angeles and Sand Diego…you could be drinking water that John or Judy drank and then discarded….

        27. Jack- Your comment is the most educated & correct. As a resident of San Diego I must agree that we need to recycle waste water. The tap water in Orange County tastes great & is recycled waste water. It is actually cleaner than most municipal water throughout the country.

        28. Witchita Falls Texas processes some of it’s drinking water from effluent from it’s wastewater plant.
          If a city upriver from you discarges it’s effluent from it’s waste water plant into the river that you downstream draw your drinking water from it’s the same thing.
          The same for storm water runoff from an upstream location.

        29. Uh, how about Orange County Water District, which has been purifying toilet water and pumping it back into the underground aquifers by the billions of gallons for years.

        30. Uh, duh and whats your point? The ARENT pumping it directly into your home. I stand by what I said earlier. NO CITY IS DRINKING RECLAIMED WATER.

        31. NEW YORK started this in 2009- The Big Apple wants to use the sun’s power to provide clean drinking water for its nine million residents without adding more of the potentially harmful chlorine it uses as a disinfectant. More specifically, New York City officials are building a water disinfection facility some 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Manhattan on a 153-acre (62-hectare) property in the Westchester County towns of Mount Pleasant and Greenburgh that will useultraviolet (UV) light to destroy water-borne pathogens such as Escherichia coli, giardia, and cryptosporidium in reservoirs that serve city dwellers.

          The city currently uses chlorine to disinfect its drinking water, which is piped in from New York State’s Delaware County and Catskill watersheds about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—empowered by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974 (and amended in 1986 and 1996) to set national safety standards—has urged communities since 1996 to cut back on chlorine, which produces harmful by-products when added to water, includingtrihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, known cancer-causing agents. The trick has been to reduce the chemical as much as possible without increasing the amount of disease-causing microorganisms in the water.

          First proposed in 2003, the city got the ball rolling on the UV disinfection project shortly after the EPA in 2006 tightened restrictions on microbial pathogens allowed in drinking water. The UV facility, set to fire up in 2012, is expected to be the world’s largest (pdf). When completed, it will consist of 56 40-million-gallon (151-million-liter) UV disinfection units designed to disinfect up to 2.4 billion gallons (nine billion liters) of water (pdf) per day.

          All surface and ground water entering New York City’s drinking water distribution system is currently treated with fluoride (pdf) to help prevent tooth decay as well as chlorine to kill deleterious microbes as designated by the New York State Sanitary Code and the SDWA.

          The city in November 2005 commissioned Trojan Technologies, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Danaher Corp. in Washington, D.C., to build a UV drinking water disinfection system to help comply with the EPA’s rules.

          “UV is a short wavelength that alters the DNA (genetic material) of the bacteria in the water, making it unable to reproduce,” says Jason Cerny, Trojan’s lead mechanical designer. “If you leave a pan of water out, UV rays from the light will clean it. We’ve just increased the scale, added a more efficient source of UV, and more power.”

          During the disinfection process, water will pass through the 56 UV units, each of which contains 144 low-pressure, high-output ultraviolet lamps that produce 40millijoules per square centimeter of light that together can treat an average of 1.3 billion gallons (4.9 billion liters) of water daily (pdf). The lamps are similar to fluorescent bulbs, but without the phosphor coating designed to protect people from prolonged exposure to UV rays.

          Based on the city’s specifications (pdf), the facility will use no more than 6.3megawatts of power when the water is at the maximum flow of 2.4 billion gallons per day. (On normal days, when only 1.3 billion gallons. or liters, are flowing, energy usage should not exceed 4.45 megawatts.)

          New York City is not the only city planning to use UV rays to purify its water. San Francisco’s Tesla Portal drinking water facility earlier this month awarded a $5-million contract to Pittsburgh’s Calgon Carbon Corp. to begin installing 12 of its Sentinel Chevron 48 UV reactors to treat up to 320 million gallons (11.5 million liters) of water daily.

          There’s a strong need for expanded use of technology that can clean water without the use of chemicals, says Thomas Harmon, an associate engineering professor at the University of California, Merced, and co-founder of the Center for Embedded Network Sensing (CENS), a research group that specializes in using wireless sensors to, among other things, measure and monitor water pollution. “Our water sources have become more and more vulnerable because our population has grown and sprawled out of the city,” he says. “We no longer have the pristine reservoirs out on the edges of town, making it difficult to keep our source water clean.”

          New York’s Catskill and Delaware watersheds do not require significant filtration. (They are able to shed most of their naturally occurring minerals as the water flows through the thousands of miles of pipes, aqueducts and tunnels on its way to the city’s taps.) But other water sources require more than UV radiation and chlorine to make them potable. Sionix, an Anaheim, Calif.–based corporation, which manufactures a treatment system that uses microscopic air bubbles to clean water, is testing whether its technology can also reduce levels of metal, namely iron and manganese (both toxic to the body in large amounts) in Santiago Creek near Villa Park Dam in Orange County, Calif.

          The creek’s water has yet to be tapped for drinking water, which means it would be a new source for the surrounding communities, says Sionix CEO Jim Houtz, who adds that his company also does UV disinfection.

          The Sionix Elixir system uses pressurized air that produces microscopic bubbles that adhere to suspended particles in water. The bubbles force the particles to the surface, where the system skims them out into a separate hopper. The system removes particles and parasitic organisms as small as one micron in diameter, Houtz says. (A micron is one millionth of a meter, or about four one hundred-thousandths of an inch.)

          Sionix by the end of this month plans to ship a $2-million Elixir treatment system to Little Rock, Ark.–based Innovated Water Equipment, Inc., which works with oil drilling companies. Innovated Water plans to use Elixir to treat the brine water discharge from oil wells—either for reuse or to be returned safely to the environment.

        32. DO NOT get rebut all wee weed up…softheads like him are prone to fling feces at those who get him worked up……you know that same as those at the zoo!!

        33. My you are a sassy little monkey….and uninformed.

          Cities have 2 water collections systems: storm water and sewers…they are separate systems. The sewer pipes go to the wastewater plant for treatment, while the stormwater system dumps into the adjacent creek and or river and receives no treatment.

          ANd where do you think your drinking water comes from…that adjacent river…the same one all the storm drain runoff dumped into…..that was not treated, filtered, etc. SO that storm water picked up a few twigs, leaves, some rodent poop, and other stuff.

          Guess you did not think that one thru…now did you?? I bet you thought your drinking water came from some magic spot that only you know about!!

          And in some rare cases, the sewer water is recycled and made potable (that would be drinkable for those of us in TN)

          JAck: 2…..Rebut: 0

          what else would you like to chat about??

        34. This process of dumping the treated water and it being picked back up by another city happens many times over up and down the Mississippi river. Starts out in Minneapolis/St. Paul. They pull their water out of the river, process it, use it, flush it, process it and back out to the river it goes. Miles down the river, another city picks up the water and over the process goes. All the way down to the ocean.

        35. Nice try. But in San Diego, the place this article is about, the runoff goes straight to the sea. What else do you need education on Jack? You’re down 0 for 3.

        36. We are not talking about runoff, we are talking about recyling wastewater……we are all playing chess and you’re still learning checkers…

          and that is Jack: 5…..rebut: 0…….you have some catching up to do……ha ha ha

          here is a link with colored pictures…so you’ll understand……

          and another about Santee…they have been recycling for 50 years!! THAT IS 50 YEARS!!!

          now you are down 6 – love!!

        37. What, are you going to share your dumpster diving techinque and cuisine with me??? no thanks!!

        38. yes you can. in the san deigo suburb santee they have been using toilet and run off water since the seventies

        39. No numbskull, I lived in Santee for 3 years. The reclaimed water isnt drunk by humans. It goes to Santee Lakes where stocked trout swim in it. Get your facts straight then pop off.

        40. Be careful…rebut gets wee weed up very easily…and he is a feces flinger… watch out!!

          Maybe an escapee from the SD zoo???

        41. Nice to hear from one of you idiots down there that conserved a whole 3%, while we up here conserved 18-20% so that you fools can continue to do nothing!

        42. I don’t know where your hiding, but when it rains in San Diego, the vast majority of it comes between December and March. That period of time is known locally as “the rainy season”.

        43. It wouldn’t be so bad if the people there built cisterns in their yards to catch and hold rainwater to use, like thy do in the Bahamas. Even the city could build some sort of cistern system to catch and hold water, and could even ship or pump that water off to more drought stricken areas when the city has an abundance.

      1. Are you that stupid? Havent you heard of anything called a drought? Also they are using the water faster then it can be replenished. Get a clue before you make yourself look more idiotic then you already have.

        1. Idiotic? Then? Twice?
          I agree with you caribu but to call someone idiotic and not knowing the proper use of the words “then” and “than” is equally idiotic.

        2. Awww a grammar nazi go blow it out your rear. its called a typo mr genius. Also learn to make complete sentences. One word and a question mark is equally improper so don’t throw stones.

  1. There are more environmental challenges by not doing it than doing it. Conserving water raises the local ocean salinity (by reducing the freshwater discharge into the bay) the same as desalination. But ultimately neither process affects the ocean as the water-cycle is still complete. The water used by people is either discharged into the environment or evaporates and rains back.

    1. Yes kinda like the conservation of energy theory in physics where the force of a sledge hammer to your skull is not lost. Sure makes a mess of your brains but the energy is not lost, it is simply transformed.

      1. I can rebut: The Peel Commission REFUTED the claim that Israel stole the land. The difference in Arab population was the key reason why Arabs said Jews stole the land. Not reality.
        This claim was refuted in 1937. Time for you guys to make a peace treaty with Israel instead of demanding that Israel be destroyed. Other Arabs have done it. Why can’t YOU?

        1. LOL, more lies from the Jew liars. The story of Israel starts with a lie and is nothing but more lies heaped on it. Someday it will end badly for the Jews.

        2. @rebut Do you cry for all the poor Palis in “Jordan” who are treated as second class citizens by their “fake” King? After all, there was no Jordan either until the Brits moved the Hashemites there from Heyaz, now Saudi Arabia. Back to this story, what have the PA and HAMAS done with all their money to make things better for their people (besides supporting Hezbollah and buying Iranian missiles), while Israel not only has desalination but also recycles enough water to irrigate half its agriculture.

        3. Well, at least the Brits told them they could have some of the driest crappy land on Earth. Too bad the Arabs were already there.

        4. The Arabs & Jews both worked together ( to a very limited extent) to drive England OUT! That detail is lost on most folks.

        5. Israel has de-sal, grow food, nukes, jets, technology up the wazuu, art, etc…….

          while hamas, plo, hezbulah, what ever ya want to call the dirty footed terrorists have only hatred and teach their children that same hatred….and will never have anything but hatred.

          and technology will always be the achilles heel for arabs, moosies, and the like!

        6. if the the sand ni77ers would put their guns down, there’d be peace,

          if Israel put their guns down, they’d be exterminated….by the sand ni&&ers!

          You have some serious issues rebut…hopefully you get the medical attention and meds you need….cause you are not right in the head.

        1. None of you duped Jew lovers ever read history. Or perhaps you simply refuse to believe the truth.

        2. Actually I did read history. It’s called the Bible. That land was the Jews from the beginning. Then they were enslaved and taken hostage by the Egyptians. This is how the pyramids and statues of Pharoah were built. History is complicated with wars and killings. But in the end we must stop and say enough is enough. If we don’t and force the Jews from their homeland in Israel, then logically we must do the same the world around, because pretty much everyone on the face of the earth are where they are from historical fighting and wars. So stop with your nonsense. Besides, this article is about a desalination plant in San Diego.

        3. I have some history in a book I was divinely inspired to write. Its call the Crible. It explains how the land your house was built on is MY HOLLY LAND from 10,000 million years ago. Im coming to take it back so you best step aside or I will exhile you to a tiny strip of land then bombard you daily with missiles.

        4. Do not try to reason with crazy stupid hateful people…they only drag you down to their level and beat you with overwhelming experience!!

      2. You are proof more animals should eat their young….

        You may be a freak of nature …the first with a negative IQ!!

        And I bet you think Arafat, plo, hamas are freedom fighters!! ha ha ha And arafat was given a nobel peace prize…the same with bobo and la gore and the peanut farmer…shows ya how misguided folks can be!!

        1. You just couldnt keep your dumb uneducated trap shut could you jackash. You havent a clue about it.

  2. article in Fortune notes that desalination is “far more expensive than damming rivers and pumping ground water. Yeh, OK Fortune magazine, thanks for the in depth investigation and analysis. Just two problems. There arent any new rivers springing up and the ground water tables are near depletion.

  3. Maybe they should try solar panels to heat the water.Combine with wind turbines and it will go 24hrs. a day ,eventuatty bringing the cost to the cheapest rate.As a bonus,there is also the sea salt that could be sold.

  4. Not enough water is already hurting California’s economy and development. Just ask anyone who owns land but cant build on it because the county wont issue a water permit. Desal might be part of the solution, but we need bold action. I wish Jerry Brown would ditch the high speed rail plan and spend the money on an aqueduct from the Columbia River across Oregon. Three minutes per day of the flow of the Columbia River will solve our water problems for the next 50 years.

    1. What if the Oregonians and Washingtonians don’t want the aqueduct crossing their land or sucking their water?

      No, our problems need to be solved here, in California.

        1. Now that is funny….Can I be there when you ask WA for some of their water…….

          you should consider stand up comedy!!

    2. YOu are insane or more likey just terribly uneducated….do you have any idea how many years it would take to build such a canal (an aquaduct is a raised/above ground which would make it cost exponentlly more).. Unless you forgot, water runs downhill…due to gravity…..just how do you get water downhill from the Columbia?? DUH!!

      ANd those pesky Cascade Mountains in the way…oh you forgot about them….

      At least you got one thing right…STOP MOONBEAM’S IDIOTIC BULLET TRAIN!!

      People like you should stick with….food: good,….fire: bad!

  5. How much water can they pump out of the ground before that dries up forever? If your thirsty you’ll pay whatever you have to to keep drinking. It’s hilarious to hvae the people of California complain about the cost of a plant that produces drinking water while spending five times that amount supporting ILLEGAL invaders from mehico.

      1. OMGosh you don’t know when to stop. Ok here i go with some more facts. This past year (2014) the governor of California passed a bill allowing some $36,000,000 to be spent on welfare/medical aid to the illegal immigrants. And no these facts didn’t come from Fox news.

        1. 36 million? really!!! LOL, the economy of California is $3 trillion and the stat budget is $165 BILLION. Do you know when to shut up?

        2. Evidently none of that $36 MILLION came outta your pocket..
          You must be one of those riding in the cart with your hand out as opposed to those pulling the cart!! Get your lazy azz out and PUSH!!

        3. there you go again Jackoff. I pay more money in taxes than you take home to your trailer trash wife and buckteeth inbred offspring.

      2. There we have it….you are a softhead MSM follower…..a gullible fool that can be brainwashed by the likes of wolfie blitzer!!

        Liberals like you should be neutered…to stop this terrible disease called liberalism…..maybe some day a cure will be found…until then anyway to control this terrible disease from spreading…in some parts of the world it is a pandemic….like Washington DC, NY, IL……brainless people walking about…utterly terrifying.

  6. Awesome read. Who cares about the negative nancies. This is the future. Fresh water supplies are dwindling folks and sea water levels are rising. Get a clue. Common sense says this is the way to go. Ignorance says the opposite. The more that are built the cheaper it will get. Save some land, build a desalinization plant. A solution for the sea level rise in global warming and the loss of fresh water as it dries up or gets over pumped from beneath us. Listening to morons and negative nancies is getting a bit exhausting. Yes keep pumping it out of the ground as usual that is fine. But desalinate and pump so you can replenish fresh water stocks freely. Don’t do it and fifty years down the road it will be three or four times as much than if it would have been done today.

    1. A little conservation wouldn’t hurt either. I was reading in an article from last year that Californians on average use twice as much water as anyone else in the US per person.

      1. not true. we do use more than most for agriculture, but then again, we produce 60% of the countries produce. California produces a sizable majority of many American fruits, vegetables, and nuts: 99 percent of artichokes, 99 percent of walnuts, 97 percent of kiwis, 97 percent of plums, 95 percent of celery, 95 percent of garlic, 89 percent of cauliflower, 71 percent of spinach, and 69 percent of carrots (and the list goes on and on). Some of this is due to climate and soil. No other state, or even a combination of states, can match California’s output per acre.

        1. I think a combination of conservation and desalination would be the key.
          The oceans are rising and there have been some concerns voiced regarding the loss of salt at the northern seas that would perhaps cripple the ocean currents, wow, why not take the salty byproduct to the northern seas, viola, NP>

  7. 7% of their water needs for a billion measly dollars?! Why the F*** is the government not using our F#ckin* tax money to build a bunch of these?! Banks are important enough to spend 500 billion to save, but F#cking water for drinking and growing crops isn’t?! What a twisted, upside down system we live in.

      1. A”little” absurd? Cut a “little bit” from the defense budget? How about ending all of these bogus wars and putting all of those resources into this, and projects like it? We already have enough firepower to ensure that no country or coalition of countries can breach our shores without signing their own death warrants. How about massive renewable energy projects and next generation high speed transport systems for people and goods? How about skyscrapers devoted to nothing but growing organic crops and converting CO2 to oxygen? No, we have to live in this bulls#it system where these murderous crooks keep us from becoming what we could be. We will never live in the world that we deserve until these vermin are cleansed from the face of the earth.

        1. I’m cool as a cucumber, brah. That’s just my opinion. If you still look at things in terms of left versus right, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

        2. I say it because it’s usually right wingers who behave like retards and wouldn’t open their minds to your comment.

        3. When I look at your country I see that both the Left and Right tend to be huge supporters of military spending. When Ron Paul proposed cutting the Department of Defence spending by half (as a start) he was attacked by the insiders on both sides. The lack of differentiation is most clear on civil liberties, where Bush was terrible but Obama is actually worse. Obama actually increased the NSA surveillance on ordinary citizens he actually went as far as claiming that he has the right to kill American citizens without trial. On Syria he favours bombing as long as Congress approves. He let your pilots act as al Qaeda’s air force and has wasted billions giving arms to the Shiites who promptly abandoned them to ISIS. Both the GOP and DP are two wings of the same totalitarian bird of prey.

  8. This is the same Technology the Israeli’s are Successfully using in turning their Desert into arable Farm land …The salt is sold off world wide as sea salt…

      1. Adolf, you’re not influencing anyone with your tired old meme. You can spit out all the hatred you want. No one cares what a jew hating dweeb has to say.

        1. I knew you’d pipe in here too eventually. Chi Chi, dismissing me as Hitler doesnt change what the Jews are doing. But you’ve been programmed to react emotionally whenever the word Jew or Israel is invoked. Think much?

  9. Back in 1967 I did a tour of duty in San Diego, I absolutely love a cup of coffee in the morning, during my stay in San Diego I would have rather drank out of the toilet. The water was rancid at best.
    If you feed the average San Diego resident distilled water you may start a mini revolution. God bless them they don’t know any better.

  10. The average home in California uses around 130,000 gallons of water per year. Or about enough to fill a 2000sf home to the rafters. Most of it is simply flushed down the toilet!

  11. 2 points —
    1. Regarding the surplus water with elevated sea minerals in it: so long as the water is 5% or less sea water, its mineral content and concentration make it perfect for crop irrigation. Sea water has around 90 minerals in it. When used in low concentration it is perfect for remineralizing our highly demineralized crops.
    2. Regarding the $1 billion per desalinization plant: Brown has proposed 26 to 50 billion be spent on a Delta water project. Surely 26 to 50 desalinization plants along our coast would give us far more water for our central valley farmers and for our drinking water.
    When you consider how many acres of central valley land goes UNPLANTED due to water shortages, 26 to 50 new desalinization plants can only be seen as a win-win.

    1. Theres already a problem in the inland valleys with the salinity level of the soil. Dont kid yourself. Furthmore, the Delta Water Project would only route water from the north around the delta instead of through it were it belongs. Another environmental disaster if it ever happens.

  12. It took 15 years for this project to work its way thru the court system due to the environmentalists desire to stop the project and cost a BILLION dollars to build. While the water is more expensive than building dams etc., dams don’t store water when there is no rain. BTW, this not a government project, it is privately owned. Desal plants have been built before in mexifornia. When it started raining again, they were abandoned.

  13. There’s an energy cost and a cost in greenhouse gas production from a big desalinization plant. Is this mentioned in this story?

    In other words, unless desalinization is done with a “green” process, it will contribute greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, which will lead to further global warming, which will further disrupt hydrological cycles, causing more droughts and less water.

    The fact that the story mentions none of this–hell, it doesn’t even talk about actual costs–is typical of the incompetence of science reporting in American media.

  14. Either they find a new source of water in CA. or the hords of Mexicans, gooks, gang bangers, etc find some other location to trash and take over. I have said for years that CA simply needs to build a series of these plants, pump the water into the dams and canals to refill them. The state would then have the water they need. End of problem, except all those wet backs, gooks, nigglets, etc that need to be deported.

  15. So I billion dollars divided by 3 million residents is 350 bucks per resident… or about 1 months worth of obamacare subsides per illegal….
    Very inexpensive in relative terms….
    also the salinity of the ocean has already been increased as the freshwater is robbed before it gets there… whats the difference except at the discharge site… who knows perhaps some marines animals will thrive on a higher salt content….
    Like it or not desalination is the answer to the worlds water problem…
    and to all the jew haters the jews were living in Israel side by side with the arabs for millennia, it wasn’t until things were partitioned because the arabs were killing them that people got nasty…. A Palestinian used to be anyone who lived there.. like a new Yorker is today… Israel has contributed more to the world since 1958 than arabs have since the beginning of time. Deal with it….

    1. I see, so in Bill Marshall Math, if you’ve done some good, your evils need be overlooked. Sorry, open minded critical thinkers arent buying your propaganda. Pre 1920 there were less than 2000 Jews living in Palestine. It sad to see people that shouldnt have a dog in the fight defending the ones who provoked it and continue to beat down the victims. But go ahead, if it makes you feel righteous defending the Jews. I do recommend educating yourself a little on the subject however.

  16. Notice how these plants are expensive BUT they are made much more expensive all because of environmentalists. It is like this for all projects in all industries. What started as a logical and justified movement in the 60s to stave off environmental degradation from poor industrial practices has bloomed into an illogical pseudo-religious movement against human progress itself and it is bankrupting this country. These ecoterrorists should not be allowed access to energy from the power grid, water from public water sources, or any manufactured goods. They would quickly abandon their religion when forced to live the way they preach.

  17. San Diego has been the only municipality in the nation with an exemption from the feds to pump untreated sewage consisting mainly of millions and millions of gallons per day of dirty fresh water into the ocean. Desalination is the least of our enviremental problems.

    With all the diversion and ground water we pump into the ocean not to mention the amount of glaciers we have caused to melt causing the sea level to rise; the thought that desalination will somehow increase the oceans salinity is ludicrous. The glaciers that are melting are “fresh water” far faster than we could ever reverse it; if anything we have the opposite impact by not using desalination. Granted, desalination may seem at this point to be energy intensive however it is really enthralpy intensive. If we use solar PV, solar thermal, wind, tidal and pressure gradients this technology can solve the entire worlds fresh water problems with less environmental impact than damming a river, killing all the salmon and reducing water tables below natural levels.The Romans spent far more on water systems per capita and delivered 200 gallons per day per citizen with far less technology. That was 2000 years ago.

    We cannot rely on municipalities to clean toilet water and remove contaminants in the same way they take care of the roads and bridges; but we can allow this burgeoning technology to gain a foothold and then refine the efficiency and economics behind it. It is our only long term viable solution unless we evoke population limits and we all move to Oregon.

  18. It is about time the California Governor & cities start to think ahead if this latest drought didn’t teach us anything is when it rains & the drought supposedly is over you do not stop planning for the future as we did back in 1990’s. Everything was shelved after the rains returned simply it’s very poor planning by the state Government & water agencies.

  19. Hmm, maybe Pelosi and the idiotic Democrats should look into 3 of these in central and northern CA to alleviate the drought areas? $3 Billion for 3 Desal Plants compared to the $100 Billion and counting for a stupid bullet train. Link it to the CA aqueduct and the farm lands are saved from drought in the central valley.

    1. you just come up with that in your early morning haze? have a couple cups of coffee, then use your google to get some facts. we’ll still be here waiting for your revised, educated assessment. Heres a hint: Theres no glut of water in the Northern lakes and rivers.

  20. Drought-plagued farmers do not benefit in any way from the de-sal plant. It just provides a small percentage of the SD municipal water supply. The author of this article implies this will somehow be a boon to farmers! It has ZERO effect on farm water supplies.

    1. 100% of inland valley water is from the Colorado River or ground water. They dont even have to compete for it as the govt. has given farmers first rights to it at discounted prices. Like you said, it doesnt affect them.

  21. “Water conservation is a good option, assuming that there is water available to conserve.” That’s true especially considering that the “haves” absolutely must have water for lawns and swimming pools rather than doing more to conserve fresh water for the “tap”.
    Desalination is a fact and has been used for decades in the Middle East, South Africa, Australia, etc. because there is not enough ground water. In SoCal there is not enough ground water. Period. And local government does not and will not discourage further population growth and other increased water demands. The solution? Desalination. What did the old TV commercial say? “You can pay it now or pay it later”. High cost is the price paid to create new potable water supplies.

  22. The reality of California is we don’t get enough water to support our ever growing population. In 50 years the states population has tripled. And while the environmental crowd sings the virtues of Conservation, it is not even close to realistic to think that is going to be nearly enough. This plant will put out 50 million gallons of water and while the critics will point out it costs 1 billion, our governor right now is proposing we build twin tunnels under the Sacramento Delta at a cost of 25 Billion, and that project will provide not one drop of new water to the system. Desalinization is not the sole answer, we also need Reclamation plants and bigger reservoirs to handle more water storage. But it is a vital part of the solution.

  23. You realize this is going to pollute the ocean – the waste is salt. It’s going to kill everything in the ocean. Ever heard of the Dead Sea? Why do you think nothing lives in there.

  24. I always find it interesting how communities meet their natural resource and energy challenges. I wish the article would have stated how the desalinization pant will get its energy. Renewables or just plugged into the grid? This may be the more interesting and significant aspect into the environmental and long-term operational and financial aspects. Oh well, I will have to do my own investigation online.

  25. “… far more expensive than damming rivers and pumping ground water…” thank you for reporting on all points of view. Now, let’s tally the costs of dams with no water in them. Also, ground water levels drop when you pump. When the level gets too low, the water you pump is full of poisonous chemicals. How expensive are wells that do not have drinkable water?

  26. Supply, Price, Demand… Raise the price of new connections to the water utility to $50K. Then there will be enough money to build desalination plants to support new construction projects. Increase the cost of your water bill x10, then conservation will reduce consumption. There is lots of farm land with better water prices in other states to help feed the nation.

  27. Maybe they could pump that water back into the ground so the wells will have more water to pump back into the Nestle plant to sell their well water world wide….

  28. I consider such mega desalination projects to represent the law of diminishing returns.
    We use a lot of energy to build and operate these mega desalination plants, and spend large sums of money – think pockets of politicians & construction company owners.
    To achieve this feat – we mine the world’s diminishing natural resources; build a huge facility that destroys a sensitive coastal ecosystem; have huge pumps sucking in the tiny littoral creatures that form the foundation of our ocean’s food chain; pump out toxic concentrations of salt brine that kills off all coastal life, or needs to be stored in huge land based toxic holding ponds.
    I agree with the comments in the article that refer to water conservation and living within a water constrained life-style when it comes to best answers for this crisis.
    Use of desalination will also open up many pristine, environmentally sensitive coastal areas to development that are now limited by freshwater availability.

  29. So, the tree huggers would rather sit around and do nothing until the day when they turn the tap in their sink and no water comes out, wherupon they will scream bloody murder wanting to know why this happened.

  30. Desalination is only unfeasible economically in a world where politicians steal water from one place and send it to places that don’t have water, for less than it costs to deliver that water. If you live someplace (desert) that doesn’t have enough water then you SHOULD pay more to have water. As long as people can get water for less than it costs to deliver that water they will NEVER control their use and alternative sources will NEVER be feasible. It is the belief that governments can and should deliver water to people without regard to the cost of doing so that is at the root of the problem of mismanaged water supplies.

      1. read somewhere that some farmers with wells are selling truckloads of water to other farmers (no, pumping the ground dry is not a good idea). I assume that they are charging more than the plant will. it is just that you always read that getting water from an imaginary river is cheaper than desalination which is the wrong cost to use.

  31. As this article notes, these plants use a lot of electricity. And thanks to Jerry Brown and his environmental wackos, CA already has and with the current policies in place, always will have an electricity shortage. There will be some unhappy campers at the Poseidon plant the day they turn off the juice.

  32. More B.S. by TPTB (the powers that be) to scam the sheep out of more money. If they’d stop seeding the clouds with chem trails and then using HAARP to cause the drought, and therefore bankrupt the farmers so Monsanto can steal their land for nothing and then grow poison food to sell to us sheep this problem wouldn’t exist.

    But wolves will continue to be wolves and the sheep will continue to sheep… until the final wake up and realize reality is opposite of what the propaganda media tells us. The means to take salt out of water has been around for many, many years but it’s being suppressed just like using water to run cars and free electricity.

    Maybe one day the sheep will rally together and hang the wolves but until that day comes it will be more overpriced under delivered technology that makes huge profits for the elite while keeping the sheep slaves to debt when we could be completely free from it all if the world can just get exposed to the free energy technology that’s be around for as much as century for some it.

      1. Ahh yes, the school system. The accidental creation of some honest people over a century ago with the idea to teach people how to read using the Bible as the first book (which of course has been taken out of the schools along with prayer).

        TPTB seen that as huge opportunity to have the masses gather at one central location everyday for proper mind program. So how did they do it you wonder? Simple, they provided the funding to get the system expanded across the country and of course supplied the books they wanted them to teach the students.

        So that way history was learned by the way the victors wanted them to learn it. And of course education will be limited as we can’t have the sheep know the REAL truth…. just enough for them to be a well educated worker in the slave plantation known as the JOB system.

      1. I can think for myself to know that man-made global warming is just an plan to control people that was sold on a stack of lies.
        Just like Obamacare.
        Do a little research and wake up.

  33. America should be investing in large infrastructure projects nationally and cut off the wasted billions going to our sworn enemies as foreign aid.
    America needs clean water and renewable energy as well as new roads and bridges from coast to coast with these types of projects creating the jobs we all need so badly.
    Common sense seems to have left our leadership some time back and has been replaced with corruption, division and political correctness.

  34. The state of California is spending 80 billion on a worthless high speed rail project that is in the central valley from Bakersfield to Madera. Seems like it makes a lot more sense to trash the rail project and build more plants so the farmers in California
    would be able to grow their crops that not only feed Californian’s , but the rest of the country as well.

  35. I expect they are trying to find a market for all the oil they thought they would be getting from fracking. Would have been better to pipe the water instead of using it for fracking.

    Could be doing solar desalination. Wicks dip into sea water in solar heated domes, and solar electricity drives fans to increase the evaporation from the wicks.

    But that would not produce the same oil/fracking economic roundabout.

  36. We, meaning, thousands upon thousands of Taxpayers called for this back in the late 1970’s and early 80’s but the Demoncrat Politicians in Sacramento fought it tooth and nail claiming some other billion dollar escapades would resolve the issues…Note….It did nothing and here we have the Same Gov. wanting to spend another few billion on more useless progams……So I am glad to see this happen

  37. A desalination plant was in San Diego in the 50s and 60s, then shipped off to Gitmo after Cuba cut off the water to the base. It worked then, it just surprises me it took them this long to build another The people who chose to live in a Desert should pay high prices for water

    1. as soon as people have to start paying real money for it, they will watch how much they use a lot closer. right now the average california home uses 130,000 gallons a year. thats enough to fill that home to the rafters.

  38. besides the untold tons of continual radiation coming from our neighbors to the west, what else you think wound up in the ocean from that disaster. no thanks on that idea. seems like most things in that water aren’t doing so well.

  39. Leave it to the loony left to whine about the “environmental impact” of pumping seawater residue back into the sea. Jesus Christ, I don’t think anything would make enviro-notzees happy short of everyone committing suicide so we can “save the planet”.

    1. before you get all cranked up about nothing, the residue issue has never been brought up as a serious talking point by any environmental groups. stop letting the media pull on your panties.

  40. We can land a spacecraft on a comet hurtling through space at hundreds of miles per hour, we can create things that allow us to wirelessly video chat with someone on the other side of the planet, but we are running out of water – and the planet is 70 percent water for crissakes. Do we really have such a drought of brainpower where we can’t figure out how to desalinate economically? Really?

  41. I”m certainly not going to contend that San Diego County has no groundwater to pump out, but it would likely run out before long. I would be more supportive of better water recycling by both municipalities and homeowners. Certainly all newly built homes ought to be required to install water recycling systems of shower/tub water for use in the toilet and for general irrigation.

  42. “Don’t think of the ocean as an endless reservoir, but a fragile ecosystem” says Connor Everts of the California Watershed Alliance. We are continually bombarded by idiots like him that tell us our oceans are rising dramatically because of climate change, but when we are looking at pulling water out and desalinating it for drinking water and irrigation usage, we are told we are looking at damaging a fragile ecosystem..Remember when the spotted owl caused millions of acres of forests to be closed because the old growth timber was the only place the spotted owl mated and nested. then a few short years later, it was discovered that many spotted owls were seen mating and nesting in barns. Environmentalists are going to be the ruination of our society, and so much of wait they continually spout off about is later discredited. Why does anyone bother to listen to them.

  43. I understand that desalinization plants require quite a bit of electricity. I would hope that the engineers have thought of constructing solar power on site to help with those needs.

  44. When I arrived in San Diego for duty in the Marine Corps in 1960, I was told that even though we are near the largest body of water in the world that the land itself is dry as little rain falls. After my 4 years active and I was a civilian again, I started checking the whole area out. I was born and raised in Michigan – Great Lakes land, I was used to water -, water every where. I then learned that San diego County as a whole is considered desert land,

    1. youre a fucking genius. we learn about deserts in grade school in california. a desert is an area that recieves <12 inches of rain per year. hows that 24 inches of snow treating you up there in the land of lakes?

  45. As mentioned in the article this plant has been held up for years by a number of lawsuits. The reality is that water from the oceans becoming fresh water is a natural process taking place all over the world. Water is evaporated into air and forms clouds that then pass over the land and deliver rain. The salt is always left behind in the evaporation process. By diluting the 50 million gallons daily with additional sea water no harm will occur. Running 24/7/365 this plant can deliver like 18B gallons to North County.

  46. Bottled water is a modern day staple, everyone seems to carry a bottle everywhere they go. We would just do what George Carlin said we should, “get a drink before you go.” Or get a drink out of someones outside hose.

  47. The problem has been overdevelopment and now gross overpopulation. All in the name of greed. Earth does NOT have infinite resources as the common mind believes – or rather does not even consider. Human beings are the worst things that ever happened to Earth.

  48. Article after article , of nonsense .
    77% of Ca.’s water is used by agriculture , which returns only 2% of Ca.’s massive economy . Almonds , alfalfa , walnuts , beef and dairy , etc. have absolutely no place being produced in a state without adequate rainfall . They need to be produced elsewhere , where it actually Rains .
    Now probably 90% or more of America , even Californians are buying into more robbing of the Sacramento Delta and Desalinization as the answer . Why wreck 2 more ecosystems to provide these farmers their water , when all that is needed is a Relocation back to where the rain is ?
    Do that and there is no water crisis in California . Rivers begin to flow as they once did , reservoirs fill , timeless aquifers slowly replenish their water . The $ saved on getting the water to these farms will save billions , as will not attacking The Delta , and building desalinization plants we do not need .
    Check it .

  49. “This water is delivered to Carlsbad and the surrounding communities.”

    Yeah, right. High quality drinking water will be poured on the lawn unless it is delivered in plastic bottles.

  50. And then the San Diego County Water Authority has negotiated w/Imperial Valley Farmers for more water from the Colorado River, what’s now gonna happen is that the Salton Sea will dry up, and blow toxic dust to the luxury resort towns of Palm Springs and vicinity, those wealthy selfish folks need to get a clue and buy the cleaned up sewage effluent from San Diego County and build an pipeline to the Salton Sea where it would flow by gravity (since it is lower than the ocean) to the Salton Sea and maintain its water level

  51. Why not just deregulate the water utilities and let the free market come up with a proper price? Once that is established the planners can figure out if desalination is a better option and consumers would have an incentive to conserve.

  52. Err how about instead of using drinking water to flush ur peep and poop….use seawater to flush them? CA and US you only have yourself to blame for the drought. Even HK uses seawater to flush toilet…O.O Waaaaat!?

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